Unmarried Childbearing

June 26, 2007

The National Center for Health Statistics tracks the number and percentage of births to unmarried women because it is a key social indicator.  According to the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics:

Children of unmarried mothers are at higher risk of having adverse birth outcomes, such as low birthweight and infant mortality, and are more likely to live in poverty than children of married mothers.

In 2004, 35.8% of all live births were to unmarried women. Compare and contrast that to 14.3% in 1970.

Numbers of births to unmarried women and their percentage of the universe of live births from 1970 through 2004 is available here.

Two good reports we have produced on the subject are Births to Unmarried Mothers: United States, 1980-92 and Nonmarital Childbearing in the United States, 1940-99.

Health Insurance Coverage

June 26, 2007

The National Center for Health Statistics has released its estimates of health insurance coverage in the United States derived from household interviews conducted under the aegis of the Health Interview Survey. The report is entitled Early Release of Health Insurance Estimates Based on Data From the 2006 National Health Interview Survey.

As an aside, the Census Bureau conducts a similar study, using a different methodology so when comparing insurance coverage over time you have to be careful to make an apples-to-apples comparison.

Top line results:

The study examines data collected from interviews in over 100,000 households nationwide. Some of the highlights include:

  • In 2006, there were 43.6 million Americans of all ages who did not have health insurance (at the time of the interview), or 14.8% of the population.
  • Among working-age Americans (those ages 18-64), there were 19.8% who did not have health insurance in 2006, a slight increase from 18.9% in 2005.
  • Approximately 9.3% of children under the age of 18 did not have health insurance in 2006, a decrease from 13.9% in 1997.
  • In 2006, the percentage uninsured at the time of interview among the 20 largest states ranged from 7.7% in Michigan to 23.8% in Texas.

If you are interested in health insurance this report is a must-read.

Sexual Behavior and Drug Use

June 26, 2007

The National Center for Health Statistics released its first ever study of the sexual behavior and drug use in American adults with the release of Drug Use and Sexual Behaviors Reported by Adults: United States, 1999-2002, based on the extremely rich data collected from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey’s personal interview modules on sexual behavior and drug use.

The report uses data collected over a 4-year period from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Some of the highlights include

  • Only 4 percent of adults ages 20 years and older have never had sex.
  • Of all race/ethnic groups, Mexican-American adults had the lowest percentage (88 percent) who ever had sex.
  • Twenty-nine percent of men reported having 15 or more female sexual partners over their lifetime compared to 9 percent of women who reported having 15 or more male sexual partners in a lifetime.
  • More than one in five adults 20-49 years of age have tried cocaine or other street drugs at some time in their life.

Asthma Prevalence

June 26, 2007


Asthma continues to be a concern among America’s Children. According to the National Centers for Health Statistics report The State of Childhood Asthma, United States, 1980–2005:

Millions of children in the United States are affected by asthma, a chronic respiratory disease characterized by attacks of difficulty breathing. An asthma attack is a distressing and potentially life-threatening experience. Scientific advances have greatly improved the understanding of the mechanisms that cause asthma attacks and have led to effective medical interventions to prevent morbidity and improve quality of life. Yet, the burden in prevalence, health care use, and mortality remains high. Asthma remains a significant public health problem in the United States.

Follow the link to some of the best info available on childhood asthma

Fireworks Deaths and Injuries

June 14, 2007

Fourth of July celebrations are nearly synonymous with fireworks. Fireworks can be very dangerous if used carelessly or improperly.

  • In 2003, four persons died and an estimated 9,300 were treated in emergency departments for fireworks-related injuries in the United States .
  • An estimated 5% of fireworks-related injuries treated in emergency departments required hospitalization.

 More info is available in this fact sheet.


June 14, 2007

The onset of summer means more people will be engaged in recreational activities in or around the water and will be at greater risk of drowning. CDC has developed an extensive fact sheet on water related injuries. It provides a great factual basis for a feature article.

Father’s Day

June 14, 2007

Father’s Day approaches.

Most of the data we at the National Center for Health Statistics have on fathers is found in our National Vital Statistics Report Births: Final Data for 2004.

The birth rate per 1,000 men aged 15–54 years was 48.8 in 2004, slightly lower than the rate in 2003 (48.9), but higher than the all-time low of 48.4 reported in 2002 (Table 21). The birth rate for males aged 15–19 years was 17.0 in 2004, essentially unchanged from the all-time low of 16.9 in 2003. Between 2003 and 2004 rates declined for men in their twenties, but increased for men aged 30–49 years. Rates for men aged 50 years and over were essentially unchanged.

We also have an interesting matrix tracing the age of father vs age of mother for teen mothers from 1990 through 2003.  

The Census Bureau has a lot of interesting factoids concerning fathers.